Applying for Social Security Disability in Wisconsin

How Do I Know if I Have a Social Security Disability Case?

Whether you have a strong case for Social Security Disability benefits depends on factors such as the seriousness of your health problems, your medical evidence showing it, your recent work history and your age.

Learn More

What are the steps to getting Social Security Disability benefits?

You start by submitting an application to the Social Security Administration (SSA), giving them information about your health problems and work background. You must prove you can’t work for at least a year.

The reality is that most people don’t get approved for benefits on their initial application. Over a recent 10-year period, only 21 percent of applicants won at that level.

If you’re denied, you can start an appeal. If you continue to get denied, you have more chances to appeal your case to higher levels.

When you ultimately win benefits, you will receive a lump sum payment for the time you spent waiting. And you’ll get monthly checks going forward and eligibility for Medicare or Medicaid health coverage.

Can I apply online?

For Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), you can apply online. You can also apply over the phone or by going to a Social Security office—if the office is accepting in-person appointments.

A disability attorney can help you be sure you have filed everything correctly.

For Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, you can’t apply online. You need to do it by phone or at a local SSA office.

Contact us for help applying

Does Geary Disability Law help with initial Social Security Disability applications?

Yes. We can help you when you’re applying for benefits—and when you need to appeal a denial. Start by talking to us for a FREE evaluation of your claim.

Learn More

What is the difference between SSDI and SSI?

When you get Social Security Disability, it comes from two different programs run by the Social Security Administration (SSA): Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The main determiners of which one you will receive are your work history and financial situation.

SSDI is for people who have worked and paid into Social Security to a significant level. The monthly pay under SSDI is calculated using a formula including your past income. It also qualifies you for Medicare health coverage after a 24-month waiting period.

SSI is for people with little recent work history and limited financial resources. The monthly pay under SSI is a set amount for everyone, determined by the government. SSI gives you immediate Medicaid eligibility.

In certain situations—such as if your SSDI payments are low, or your income is low during the automatic minimum five-month waiting period Social Security requires before you receive benefits—you could receive both SSDI and SSI.

Can I still work and get Social Security Disability?

If you work, it has to be a small amount, otherwise it may disqualify you from receiving Social Security Disability benefits.

You have to work less than what Social Security considers “substantial gainful activity.”

The main idea behind disability benefits is to help you when you can’t work at all.

How long does it take to get Social Security Disability benefits?

When you can’t work because of ill health, you need financial relief fast. But with all its rules, steps, and case backlogs, Social Security can take months to make a decision on your claim. If you’re denied benefits and need to appeal, the process can take a year or longer.

But the financial break you get at the end is worth the wait. And when your claim is finally approved, you’ll be awarded back benefits for the time you were waiting.

Learn More

Can I speed up the process of getting Social Security Disability benefits?

If you have an extremely serious illness, like many cancers, you can ask Social Security for a “compassionate allowance” that gets you benefits faster. If you have a dire financial situation, such as the threat of homelessness, you can also ask for a faster decision.

You can’t make the typical Social Security Disability process move any faster, but avoiding mistakes in your application or appeal can help you avoid additional delays.

Talk to us at Geary Disability Law to see if your case could qualify you for a faster decision.

Contact Us Now!

How much money does Social Security Disability pay?

The average SSDI payment in 2021 was $1,277 per month. The exact amount you receive depends on a formula that includes your past earnings.

For 2021, the SSI monthly payment was set at $794 for an individual and $1,191 for a married couple. SSI payments are the same for everyone. The government sets them and typically adjusts them every year.

Are there Social Security Disability benefits for widows or widowers?

If your late spouse qualified for Social Security Disability benefits, you may be able to receive benefits, too, based on their Social Security file.

Social Security Disability Widow Benefits

Appealing a Social Security Disability Denial

What do I do if my claim for Social Security Disability benefits is denied?

Many people who are denied Social Security Disability benefits can eventually win benefits by appealing the decision.

A large majority of people who apply for disability get denied.

When you’re appealing, you go through four steps: asking for a reconsideration, speaking to a Social Security administrative law judge, asking for a review by Social Security’s Appeals Council, and suing Social Security in federal court.

Disability Attorney Tim Geary has extensive experience helping people fight their disability denials.

If You Were Denied, Contact Us Now!

Are there deadlines for applying for an appeal?

When you receive a denial, you have a strict deadline to appeal. From the date you received the denial notice, you have 60 days to start your appeal.

The main rule for when to file your application for benefits is to do it as soon as you know you can’t work due to your health. If you wait several years, you could miss out on some benefits altogether, but the most important thing is starting the process early.

Because the process takes time, by the time you are awarded benefits, your needs may be greater. When you win benefits, you also will be awarded back benefits to account for the time you spent waiting on approval, so you want the potential date for back benefits in place as early as possible.

Working with a Social Security Disability Lawyer

Why should I work with a lawyer on my Social Security Disability claim?

At a time in your life when you’re struggling with health problems, getting support for your disability claim from someone with experience can significantly ease the burdens you feel.

You’ll be able to rest knowing someone capable is handling your claim.

Applying for disability benefits can be a job in itself. We know the rules, steps, and strategies you need for a strong claim.

When you’re appealing a denial and you go to a hearing with a disability judge, a government study found that your chances of winning benefits were almost three times higher if you have a representative.

You can start with a free consultation. And for disability cases, you pay no attorney fee until you win benefits.

When should I get a lawyer for my disability claim?

It can benefit you to start working with a lawyer from the beginning of your disability claim. That way you get someone familiar with your story who’s ready to help you at every step along the way.

If you’ve already applied and received a denial, you should talk to a lawyer immediately because you face a deadline. You have 60 days from when you received notice of your denial to start your appeal.

How Do I Choose a Social Security Disability Lawyer?

When health problems force you stop working, it’s a highly personal situation. But the Social Security Disability benefits process, meant to help you continue to afford the necessities of life, can be highly impersonal.

A Social Security Disability lawyer can be your guide, providing the personal attention you deserve at a time when you feel vulnerable.

This is also a special area of law, and having a lawyer who knows it well can make the process easier.

But how do you pick a Social Security Disability lawyer?

Look at their experience and their approach to working with you—such as how much do they focus on disability law, whether you will meet them directly, whether they will help you apply for benefits in the first place and more.

Tips on Picking a Lawyer

Will I get to speak directly with my disability lawyer?


At least you will at Geary Disability Law.

You can talk to Tim Geary any time during the process.

And when you’re preparing for a hearing with a disability judge, Tim considers getting to know you and understanding your situation one of the most important parts of his job.

How much does it cost to get a disability lawyer?

You pay no upfront fees for a disability lawyer. Social Security rules say that you only pay an attorney fee when you win benefits.

And even then the fee comes out of the back pay you’ll be awarded to compensate for the time you spent waiting on a decision from Social Security, not from your pocket or your monthly benefits going forward.

The payment process is set up this way to help you afford a lawyer when you’re in a difficult time financially.

Your first step can be getting an initial consultation on your case, at no cost to you.

Learn More

What’s the difference between a disability advocate and a lawyer?

Disability lawyers and disability advocates can both help you with the process of getting Social Security Disability benefits. Lawyers, however, have more training in evidence, arguments and legal concepts that could come into play in your claim.

Learn More: Advocate vs. Attorney

Working with Geary Disability Law

Why choose Geary Disability Law?

Geary Disability Law has helped thousands of people in Wisconsin get the benefits they need to secure a better financial future.

Disability Attorney Tim Geary has over 20 years of experience in this area of law.

Tim and his legal team believe in taking the time to listen to and understand the stories of the Wisconsinites we help, so we can best make Social Security understand your needs.

In the Fox Valley and Northeast Wisconsin, we also know the local medical clinics, Social Security offices, and judges that could be involved with your claim.

Contact Us Now!

What areas does Geary Disability Law serve?

Our law firm is dedicated to people in the Fox Valley and Northeast Wisconsin.

How many disability cases has Geary Disability Law handled?

With over 20 years of experience, Geary Disability Law has helped thousands of people in Wisconsin.

Where is Geary Disability Law located?

Our office is located at 330 W. College Ave, Suite #305, Appleton, WI 54911

When is Geary Disability Law open?

Our hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

What should I bring to my first appointment with Geary Disability Law?

To start working on your claim, show us any notices you’ve received from Social Security, such as denial letters or any other correspondence.

Make a list of your doctors or other health-care providers you’ve seen for the health problems that are making it impossible to work.

Also write down your past jobs, going back 15 years, along with when you held each job, what your jobs required you to be able to do, and when you stopped working because of your health.

Another item you’ll complete when you start working with our firm is filling out the forms you need to appoint Geary Disability Law as your representative.

Can I work with Geary Disability Law by telephone?

When it’s difficult for you to travel to our disability law office, or you’re concerned about issues like COVID-19, you can work with your disability lawyer and our legal team via phone at Geary Disability Law.

Especially when you’re starting out, we can take your case over the phone.

Later on, it can be to your advantage to meet us in person, so we can talk more in depth and create the fullest picture possible of why you need Social Security Disability benefits.

When you’re preparing for a hearing with a disability law judge, you’ll always have the opportunity to meet your disability attorney in person and get ready.

Learn More

How do I contact Geary Disability Law?

You can call us at 888-484-4020.

Or fill out the form on this page.

If you’re struggling with ill health and financial worries, let us help you reclaim your life.


    Skip to content